Montessori Mode

“The goal of early childhood education should be to activate the child’s own natural desire to learn.” – Maria Montessori 


As my daughter turned three this year, I knew I had to look for preparatory schools soon. Her age was ripe for nursery, and the challenge was to find a good place that would build a solid foundation for her elementary school.

As we shopped for schools, there are so many factors we had to consider:

1. Location

Traffic in Manila is really tiring and time consuming. So we wanted to find a place that was nearby so that Sofie won’t spend hours on the road just to get to school. Also, being nearby is an advantage to the yaya and Lola who will bring her to school, as they can easily go back home and do other things, then just come back for her during dismissal time. The proximity would also help us go to her quickly in case of emergencies.

2. Transportation 

For working parents, transportation is a big factor to consider. We needed to find a school that would be near enough to transport our daughter by walking or by tricycle, as we cannot bring her to and fetch her from school all the time. The nearer the school, the lower the cost as well for service fees.

3. Classroom and School Size

Do you want a big school or a small school? How many students are in one class? What is the teacher- student ratio? A smaller class is better for us, as teachers can give more attention to toddlers who might be easily distracted by toys or play time. Teacher aides are also a plus, especially for toilet emergencies.

4. School hours

What time are her classes? How many hours will she be in class? This would help us work around prep time (breakfast, bath time, rush hour, nap time, etc) and ensure that our daughter is alert, active and ready to learn in class.

5. Tuition Fee

Enrollment fees today are no joke, and they do take up a major chunk of your income and savings so the fees is a big factor to consider. Miscellaneous fees such as books, uniforms, school supplies, field trips should also be added to the total enrollment fund, so parents are better prepared.

Payment schemes also come into play. Of course, paying in full is encouraged by the school as it means cheaper fees, but installment mode of payment would also be comfortable enough for the parents to financially fulfill, weighed in with all other daily expenses and investments.

6. Security

Is the school located on a busy street? Are there gates in place? Is there a guard at he entrance? We need to ensure that our daughter will be safe in her school grounds, especially from strangers.

7. School type and curriculum

Would you want a traditional, progressive or Montessori type?

I knew at the onset that I was looking for a Montessori— a school that would help kids learn about ABCs in a more intearactive environment, and also teach them basic life skills and independence. Most of my mommy friends were products of Montessori themselves, and their testimonials only pushed me to look for a similar school curriculum for my daughter.

And so look for a Montessori we did. Lo and behold, there was a nearby school near our village, about ten minutes away: Montessori at Work. The school is near the house, so we can worked arrangements with a neighbor tricycle driver so he could bring Sofie to school and fetch Lola and Yaya as well when class is over.


Classes are from 1030 am to 1230 pm, not too early and just enough for traffic to pass after rush hour. Her nap time would also be right after class, so the schedule is just right. Grounds are secure enough as there are gates and glass doors so only authorized fetchers will be allowed in the premises, and only during fetching time.

Fees are not too expensive, and already covers uniforms and school supplies. For tuition fee, we chose the middle ground – semestral payment. This would help us save enough for the next payment, with the least amount of installment add ons. The time would also help us to evaluate if Sofie would adjust well to her new school enviroment.


Sofie has been enjoying her stay at Montessori. She has two teachers in a class of seven, together with a teacher aide. The school uses didactic objects to facilitate both learning and play. Books are converted to drill sheets, so teachers can assess and personalize exercises based on the child’s readiness and grasp of the lesson. Plus the environment and faculty are supportive and encouraging. (Sometimes, a mother’s intuition or vibe, though unfounded, is usually accurate!)

Hope Sofie would learn a lot from Montessori at Work. Here’s to the start of our schooling adventure!

Kindermusik

“At Kindermusik, our passions are children and music. So we put the two together to create a music and movement program for young children. Our mission is to reach every child through music.”


I first learned about Kindermusik from my boss, who enrolled her then two-year old daughter to the program and sang praises about it. Her once timid girl blossomed into a confident young toddler. I knew then that I wanted to also bring Sofie to Kindermusik. As an only child, these play schools are supposed to teach basic socialization, but I knew that Kindermusik can develop so much more for Sofie. She was already turning two, and I wanted to expose her to more learning and creative environments suited for her age.

We searched their website and found Saturday morning schedules to be ideal, so we can also join her during classes. After going to potential venues, we finally found a fit at Kindermusik at CTEC Greenhills with Teacher Dang. Her class would be Wiggle and Grow, for toddlers her age.

The first day was surprising for all of us. Sofie was overwhelmed by the new environment and kept her eyes closed the whole time! There were tears and tantrums, but Teacher Dang assured us that this is normal behavior, and we should acknowledge Sofie’s feelings and let her adjust to her new surroundings. We kept our faith and crossed our fingers that the next days would be better.

True enough, Sofie did do so much better in the next classes. Little by little, she began to recite familiar animals and animal sounds during story book time, played with rhythm sticks, and even did cooperative play with classmates. She especially loves parachute play, lining up blocks and sticks, story time, and “massage” time with mommy. She has learned to pack away toys and wait for her turn. At home, Sofie and I would read books from Kindermusik and look at videos from the website, and she would remember her modules from her classes. Her development was amazing, and we are thankful to Teacher Dang and Kindemusik for helping Sofie to develop all these, and enjoy bonding time as a family too. 


As we enroll Sofie in a new school, we would forever be grateful for the foundation given to her by Kindermusik. She now sings nursery rhymes all the time, dances to familiar songs during car rides, and has better appreciation of music. No more eyes closed! We have appreciated the opportunity given to us to learn together with Sofie, and she has learned to trust the support she can get from her parents. More importantly, she has gained the confidence to face new schools and new challenges in the world ahead.